|All that is left of our poor impatiens.|
Last year frost left us alone until November 6 -- a little on the good side of average. No breaks this year. After a warmer than average first half of October, the frost descended on our tender annuals like a guillotine on October 16 -- about two weeks early.
|Our very frost-bitten basil.|
In previous years we have rushed to throw tarps over all our tender plants when the frost comes early. It can be worth the effort, depending on how many times you have to do it, but this year we could not be bothered. The afternoon before the icy execution we picked the last of our cucumbers and green beans and filled a 5 gallon bucket with basil for freezing.
In earlier times when I had more conventional tomato cages, I used to pull up my plants entirely and hang them upside down from the joists in the basement. A surprising number of fruits matured over time -- as long as I didn't forget they were down there. Now I am too lazy. I just pick all the fruits -- no matter how green -- and put them in a single layer in a cardboard box away from the sun. We eat some of the larger green ones and then use the others as they begin to turn. Our simple box can extend the season several weeks.
Meanwhile a full half of the garden is continuing to produce. Now that our beans are gone (many of them into the freezer) we particularly enjoy the peas that are still thriving. Wan plans to harvest our very first Brussels sprouts tomorrow.
While many of the early bloomers are a bit bedraggled, we still have eye candy in the yard as well -- even before the peak of the fall color season.
|The blooms on this hydrangea are just now turning a pale pink.|
One of the reasons I like Knock-Out roses is that they just keep blooming.
Meanwhile, there are many things we can do for next season. You still have time to buy and plant bulbs for next spring. And the coming month is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs -- even when they are leafless.
|One of my staging areas for shrubs to be planted in the next few weeks.|
Finally, this is not the time to stop watering -- especially if you planted this season. You want your garden soil nice and moist before the first hard freeze locks things up.
A bit more on rain barrels next time.